I'm asked this question all the time regarding WWII items in general. However, more specifically as it relates to items from the SS (SchutzStaffel). Most of the reasons are quite obvious and have a lot to do with supply and demand. However, the Allgemeine (general) and the Waffen (armed) SS was a massive organization so it stands to reason (before thinking it through) that there would be a large amount of items associated with these groups still around. After all, huge caches of SS insignia and field caps were found at the Dachau Concentration camp when it was liberated in late April 1945 (Much more on this in a later blog). All that being said, why aren't these items less expensive? Here are my thoughts:
- Many of the SS units ended up on the Eastern Front. These units were decimated along with all of their gear.
- They were an elite unit, collectors placed a higher emphasis on their desirability.
- The symbolisms used by the SS such as the runic collar tab (lightning bolts) and the totenkopf (death's head) have a definite appeal to collectors. Remember the death head skull goes back a long further than The Third Reich. Heck, it was used on pirate ships and on early gravestones. It certainly catches your attention.
- Because of the high prices, the fakers want a piece of the action and really go out of their way to dupe the unsuspecting collectors. They pay more attention to the details because these items sell for higher prices than regular German souvenirs. You should always insist on a written lifetime money back guarantee from the seller.
- Many SS cloth items are still within reach of a collector on a budget. Several volunteers shields specialty items are available for under $150. These can be researched and enjoyed by collectors of all ages.
So "Hang Tough" as my dear friend Major Dick Winters from "Band of Brothers" fame would say and enjoy the exciting world of collecting WWII memorabilia. In the meantime, click here to see original SS items procured by the Ruptured Duck.